Open space, trails campaign gains momentum | SierraSun.com

Open space, trails campaign gains momentum

David Bunker
Sierra Sun

Dollar by dollar, local business patrons have contributed an estimated $30,000 for regional trail construction and the preservation of open space.

The Buck for Open Space and Trails campaign, which began last fall with three businesses tacking on an extra dollar to obliging customers’ bills for trail building efforts and land conservation in town, has now grown to include 11 local businesses. And more are soon to follow, said Kellie Wright of the Truckee Donner Land Trust.

“There are actually people calling wanting to sign up,” Wright said.

The program has already gathered $13,600 in funds, Wright said, and she is expecting another $15,000 to come in from the businesses at the end of this month.

The funds are split between two nonprofits: the Truckee Trails Foundation and the Truckee Donner Land Trust. The trails foundation plans to use the money to help organize the volunteer Truckee Trails Day to build a trail from Olympic Heights to Donner Pass Road, said the foundation’s Executive Director Leigh Fitzpatrick.

The land trust is using the money for its ongoing mission to purchase or establish conservation easements on undeveloped land throughout the region.

The campaign began with three businesses: Dragonfly and Cottonwood restaurants and the Best Western Truckee Tahoe Inn. Eight more businesses have signed up, and the interest is still growing, Wright said. Businesses either add the dollar directly to the bill, and take the charge off upon request, or ask their customers if they would like the additional charge to be added.

The Inn at Truckee recently joined the businesses supporting the trails and conservation campaign, said Manager Patricia Barrett. The cause is a natural fit for the makeup of her clientele, she said.

“Being in a hospitality industry, what brings a lot of people here is the open space,” Barrett said. “We get a lot of the casual travelers that are here to enjoy what we have.”

The Inn at Truckee, which is a dog-friendly hotel, is patronized largely by visitors seeking recreation, Barrett said. And so asking for an extra dollar from her guests for building trails and preserving open space seemed like a good idea.

“We are getting a good response,” she said.

The program, which is modeled after a successful fund-raiser in Jackson Hole, Wyo., will continue contributing funding to the two nonprofits indefinitely, organizers say.

“We hope that once they are started they will continue,” Wright said.